November 14th 2013 was not any normal day. It was the day that saw the beginning of the end of a journey – a journey which had begun 24 years earlier on a cold day in Karachi. Back then, a young 16-year-old took his first steps into international cricket and over the years, became an ornament to this wonderful game.
Sachin Tendulkar can consider himself very privileged for the kind of love the nation gave him for two-and-a-half decades. And in Mumbai against the West Indies, that journey found a full stop.
It was a memorable occasion for everyone watching not just at the venue, but also for those who were watching it live on the television or streaming it from around the world.
The Test match itself proved to a be totally one-sided affair as India hammered the West Indies by an innings and 126 runs. Tendulkar made 74 runs and deservingly left the venue to a standing ovation.
There was, however, one other performer in that game who is not often remembered amidst the emotions. Pragyan Ojha took match figures of 10 for 89, that included five-wicket hauls in both innings and deservingly won the Player of the Match award and can definitely tell his grand children the tale of Tendulkar’s last Test and his contribution in it.
Recalling that game, Ojha said that despite all the emotions flowing all around, Tendulkar maintained a dignified calm and ensured that everything was normal.
“I will also have to credit Sachin . Though he was a bit emotional, till the last day he kept things simple. Even with the buzz, he just ensured that it didn't feel like a special Test. During breakfasts in the hotel in the lead up to the final Test, he did his bit to keep things very normal.
“I was very focused on doing well in that game. I was determined but I really didn't look at it as an opportunity to get my name into the history books. I wasn't thinking on those lines. I believe winning any Test is special because you have to pick those 20 wickets. You have to get each batsman out twice and at the international stage, it's not easy to do,” Ojha told Cricbuzz.
The left-am spinner further revealed that there was a lot of preparations prior to that series and he himself wished to do something special during that series.
“Even before the series had started there was plenty of planning and preparations going on. Yes, there were a lot of things going on but that didn't affect us. A lot of people wanted to celebrate it, special arrangements were made and there was plenty of buzz. After all, it was, and as it should be, a big farewell for a man who has given so much to the game and not only Indian cricket. When you play for India, you get used to the buzz so personally, all I was thinking of was doing something special in that series so that everyone will remember,” he said.